Innovation in Resource-Based Technology Clusters: Investigating the Lateral Migration Thesis – An analysis of hydraulic technologies in South Africa’s mining sector

by POGUE, T.E. & RAMPA, M., 2006
Research Report, Employment Growth & Development Initiative, Human Sciences Research Council

Pogue & Rampa offer a case study of technology development from a resource sector in South Africa. They examine a co-operative initiative undertaken by South Africa’s gold mining companies through the Chamber of Mines Research Organisation (COMRO) in developing hydraulic technologies for mining in South Africa. After a brief description of the structure of these technologies development under COMRO’s stewardship, the paper turns to an overview of the system of innovation. They highlight the important contribution of industry initiative and State policies in drawing domestic capabilities together with international expertise to develop this technology. These hydraulic technologies were at the international forefront in their development. However, to date the technology has only diffused in a limited way to other mining applications and less so in other non-mining applications. They examine reasons for the success and failure of hydraulic technologies, showing that while there remains huge potential for diverse application of the technology there is no certainty that that application will occur or have a significant impact on South African expertise.